Thursday, November 25, 2010

Week Thirteen – Rivalry Week & Turkey Day NFL Picks

The last week of the regular season is already here (except for a few games next week – mainly the Big East and Pac 10).  Excuse me while I shed a tear.  It has been a great season as usual.  We still have several conference races to decide – both Big 12 divisions, Big Ten, one of the ACC divisions to name a few.  

SEC Games – 6-0 straight up last week; 74-14 for the season. 

#2 Auburn @ #11 Alabama (Friday) – I wish I was going to this game.  The most intense rivalry already (yes, even more than Michigan-Ohio State).  I’m sure you will be able to feel the tension in the air tomorrow in Tuscaloosa.  Auburn still has national title hopes; Alabama is just playing for pride at this point trying to ruin Auburn’s season.  This one is hard to predict.  One part of me wants to say Auburn has made it this far, and they are going to win.  They have extra motivation because they are underdogs according to Vegas in this one.  However, as I have said all season, Auburn’s schedule has been tailor-made to get to this point, BUT their weak road schedule has not prepared them for what they are going to see tomorrow.  I like the way Bama’s offense has been clicking lately.  We all know that Cam Newton and the Tiger offense are gonna get theirs, but will it be enough to keep up with the matchup of Bama’s explosive offense versus Auburn’s questionable defense?  To be a championship type team, you have to have a great defense.  Auburn does not, and I think this is the game where the defense fails and Auburn loses.  Stat for you:  since the BCS began in 1998, the worst ranked defense for a championship team is 23rd (’02 Ohio State).  Auburn right now is sitting at #50 in total defense in the nation.  This is why I do not think Auburn wins the national title even if they get past Bama.  That being said, give me Bama 34-31.

Florida @ #22 Florida State – Urban is 16-1 versus his three biggest rivals at Florida (Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida State) and he has not lost to Florida State.  Both teams have been very unpredictable this year, which makes this game just about impossible to predict.  Something tells me Meyer outcoaches Jimbo Fisher in this one.  The Gators somehow find a way to score enough points and continue the streak on the ‘Noles.  Gators 21-20   

#5 LSU @ #12 Arkansas – Huge game in Little Rock.  LSU hopes to secure a BCS bid and still an outside shot at the national championship game.  The Hogs want a 10 win season and a chance at getting selected for a BCS bowl.  Based on my analysis (may be wrong here), Stanford, Boise and the Big Ten schools stand in the way of the Hogs getting a BCS bid if the Hogs can pull this one out.  There are two things I like in this game:  the Hogs balance on offense and LSU’s defense, which will be facing each other all day long.  The Tiger’s defense began to worry me last week by giving up so many points to Ole Miss.  It is hard not to like the Hogs in this one because their offense is playing so well, and they will have a “spirited” Little Rock crowd behind them.  I just don’t see LSU’s offense keeping up even though Jordan Jefferson has improved as of late.  Hogs 28-24

#18 South Carolina @ Clemson – See “If I were a bettin’ man…” segment below.

In other games, the SEC will continue to embarrass the ACC with Georgia beating Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt taking Wake Forest down.  Finally, I’m calling for Tennessee over Kentucky and Ole Miss to upset #25 Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl.  Houston Nutt will go back to selling used cars after the game.

Notable Games Around the Nation – 2-2 straight up last week; 21-8 for the season

#21 Arizona @ #1 Oregon (Friday) – I did seriously dream last night that Arizona won this game, but surely not right?  Ducks 38-24

#4 Boise State @ #19 Nevada – I am a believer in Boise.  You can trash their schedule all you want, but they just dominate everyone that they play.  After last week’s 51-0 loss to Boise, Pat Hill, Fresno’s coach, said he has not been beaten like that at Fresno and that Boise is for real.  Pat Hill has had some good teams and pulled off some upsets in his time at Fresno.  The hometown Reno crowd will be psyched for the game, and Colin Kaepernick is a hell of a player and athlete (he was drafted in the 2009 MLB draft).  When it comes down to it, Kellen Moore doesn’t beat himself, so the other team has to be a lot better to beat Boise.  Nevada is not a lot better.  Boise wins 35-28      

#13 Oklahoma @ #9 Oklahoma State – It’s Bedlam in Stillwater with College Gameday paying a visit.  I’ve been disappointed with Oklahoma’s inconsistency this year.  They have played like garbage on the road this year going 2-2 including a narrow two point win at Cincinnati.  Simply put,  Okie State is on a roll!  Since the beginning of October, all of the Cowboys wins have been by double digits.  They are trying to get to the Big 12 championship game for the first time.  The Sooners will likely win the South is they win here after a confusing tiebreaker (just trust me on this one).  The Sooners have shown enough chinks in the armor this year that I don’t think they win here.  Cowboys book their reservations to Jerry’s World next week 31-21.   

If I were a bettin’ man... – 1-1 against the spread last week; 10-13 for the season

#18 South Carolina (-3) @ Clemson – I’m gonna make this one simple.  This is a huge rivalry game in the Palmetto state.  Spurrier enjoys rubbing it in his rivals faces when he can.  For the first time since he got to South Carolina, he has a much better team than Clemson.  The Cocks roll in front of the Clemson crowd as the ACC continues to get dominated by the SEC.  Take the Gamecocks in this one by at least 10 points.

#10 Michigan State (-1.5) @ Penn State – Michigan State is playing for a piece of the Big Ten title; Penn State has nothing to play for except bowl positioning.  This is a very mediocre PSU team…and Vegas is only giving them 1.5 points.  Sign me up on this one!  Sparty by at least 10.

Thursday NFL picks by Greg

Pats -6.5 @ Detroit
New Orleans -3.5 @ Dallas
Not one of his favorites, but if you have to: Cincinnati @ NY Jets (-9.5)

Happy Thanksgiving weekend!

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